March Club Meeting: Carving Demonstration

At the March meeting of the BSV, Michael Simonetto shared his extensive knowledge of carving bonsai with members.  His demonstration included both hand and power tools. First of all, he emphasised the importance of safety and using the appropriate safety protection for the task at hand.  

This could cover eye protection, ear protection and hand protection.  Secondly, tool techniques are vital and it is essential your hands are always behind the tool that is making the cut.  It was also noted that some tools are made for dragging rather than pushing which changes the safety requirements.

A range of power tools can be used depending on the magnitude of the task at hand and of course the choice of cutting bit.  More powerful tools will require more stringent safety measures to avoid harm if unexpected events occur.  

Look for ways to more safely support the power tool and make sure you are cutting with the grain.When carving bonsai, the intention is to create very natural looking deadwood and this can take a very long time as you move from the initial rough cuts to finishing off.  Some of Michael's comments are included below.

  • Make sure the tree is firm in the pot before starting.

  • Observe what happens in nature to help guide how to shape and finish off the deadwood.

  • The edge of a thick piece of glass can be good for finishing off.

  • It is easier to tear young wood with moisture.

  • When tackling a large jin, a cut around the base to avoid stripping down the trunk.

  • With shari, mark it first and follow the trunk line.

Michael reviewing carving options for this pine.

Michael reviewing carving options for this pine.

Shari and jin development on a juniper.

Shari and jin development on a juniper.

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Olive front after initial deadwood removal.

Olive front after initial deadwood removal.

Using a power tool to shape a jin.

Using a power tool to shape a jin.

English Elm

English Elm

Acer palmatum "Shaina"

Acer palmatum "Shaina"

Korean Box

Korean Box

Chinese Elm

Chinese Elm

Removing deadwood from an olive.

Removing deadwood from an olive.

Acer palmatum

Acer palmatum

Olive deadwood removal using a power cutter.

Olive deadwood removal using a power cutter.

Slo Plum

Slo Plum